IPL Hair Removal Not Working: What Did I Do Wrong?

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) hair removal has become a popular choice for those looking to achieve long-term hair reduction or even permanent hair removal. However, it can be frustrating when you’ve invested time and money in IPL treatments, and you’re not seeing the expected results. In this article, we’ll explore the possible reasons why IPL hair removal may not be working as effectively as desired and what you can do to address these issues.

Understanding How IPL Hair Removal Works

IPL hair removal uses intense pulses of light to target the melanin (pigment) in hair follicles. The light energy is absorbed by the hair, heating and damaging the follicle, which inhibits its ability to regrow hair. The effectiveness of IPL depends on several factors, and understanding them is key to troubleshooting issues when it doesn’t work as expected.

Common Reasons for IPL Hair Removal Not Working

Hair Color: IPL works best on individuals with darker hair and lighter skin. The contrast between the hair and skin allows the light to target the hair follicle effectively. If your hair is too light, gray, or red, IPL may not be as effective.

Skin Tone: IPL may not be suitable for individuals with very dark skin tones because the melanin in the skin can absorb the light energy instead of the hair follicle, potentially causing burns or hyperpigmentation.

Hair Thickness: Thick, coarse hair responds better to IPL treatment than fine, thin hair. If your hair is very fine, IPL may not provide the desired results.

Hair Growth Cycle: IPL is most effective when hair is in the anagen (growth) phase. Not all hair is in this phase at the same time, so multiple sessions are required to target hair in various stages of growth. Cost savings over time make at home laser hair removal an attractive option.

Improper Use: Using the IPL device incorrectly can lead to ineffective treatments. This includes not shaving the treatment area before using the device, not using the appropriate energy level, or treating over tattoos, moles, or dark spots.

Medical Conditions and Medications: Certain medical conditions and medications can affect hair growth and the effectiveness of IPL. Hormonal imbalances, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and medications that stimulate hair growth can impact results.

Device Quality: The quality of the IPL device matters. High-quality devices with FDA clearance are more likely to deliver the expected results.

What to Do When IPL Hair Removal Isn’t Working

Consult a Professional: If you’re not seeing results after several sessions, it’s a good idea to consult a dermatologist or licensed practitioner. They can assess your specific situation and recommend an alternative treatment if needed.

Consider Other Hair Removal Methods: If IPL isn’t effective for your hair and skin type, there are alternative methods like laser hair removal, electrolysis, or waxing that may be more suitable. With Ulike laser hair removal, say goodbye to unwanted hair and hello to long-lasting smoothness.

Adjust Treatment Frequency: Ensure you follow the recommended treatment schedule for your device. IPL typically requires multiple sessions, with several weeks between each session, to target hair in different growth phases.

Maintain Proper Skin Care: After treatment, practice proper skin care to avoid skin irritation and sun exposure. Sun protection is essential during and after IPL sessions.

Evaluate Medications and Health: If you suspect underlying medical conditions or medications are affecting your hair growth, consult with a healthcare provider to address these issues.

Select a Quality Device: If you decide to continue with IPL, choose a reputable, high-quality device with FDA clearance and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines closely.


When IPL hair removal isn’t working as expected, it can be due to several factors, including hair and skin type, treatment frequency, and device quality. Understanding these variables is essential for troubleshooting issues and finding the right solution. Consulting with a healthcare professional or dermatologist can provide valuable guidance to help you achieve the desired results in your hair removal journey.

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